With the change in seasons, New York City is offering several new options to allow diners to visit their favorite restaurants safely. Starting September 30th, restaurants throughout the city will be allowed to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity, provided they meet certain guidelines to maximize social distancing. If you’re looking to dine indoors this fall and winter, here’s what you need to know, according to the office of the Governor of New York:
- Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers.
- One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed.
- No bar service – bars will only be used as service bars and bar tops will be closed for seating.
- Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table.
- Tables must be six feet apart.
- Restaurants close at midnight.
- Restaurants must adhere to strict guidance from the state, including enhanced air filtration and ventilation standards.
There are several best practices to enhance safety for indoor dining. Recommendations include making patrons’ time in restaurants more efficient. These include procedural changes like providing menus at the tables upon seating; sending the check with dessert; positioning tables with an anchor to enhance patrons’ feeling of safety and providing small bottles of hand sanitizer with the check or placing a central hand sanitizer station at entrances and exits. While there will be many changes to the indoor dining experience upon reopening, these alterations have been made with the safety of both patrons and workers in mind.
To give diners more options as we navigate the pandemic, Mayor de Blasio announced on September 25th that NYC’s Open Restaurants Program (Outdoor Dining) will be extended year-round and made permanent. Since its inception earlier this summer, the program has enrolled over 10,300 establishments to expand outdoor seating options, including many restaurants and bars in Greenwich Village. This extension also includes the Open Streets: Restaurants program, which allows restaurants to serve on 85 car-free streets on certain days.
Of course, many are likely wondering how to stay warm while dining outdoors as temperatures cool. Heating elements like electric, propane and natural gas heaters will be allowed in certain settings for outdoor use at restaurants, provided that the restaurant has acquired a permit from FDNY and complies with Fire Department guidelines. Tent enclosures are also permitted provided that at least 50% of the tent’s side wall remains open. Full tent enclosures must follow indoor dining guidelines and enclosed structures like plastic domes (with adequate ventilation) will be allowed for individual parties.
While things are far from “back to normal” in New York City’s restaurant and bar scene, there are now even more ways to support your favorite culinary institutions throughout the city. Check out our list of outdoor dining options in Greenwich Village! Also, be sure to check in with your favorite restaurants to see if they are offering indoor dining.
Looking for guidance on recent indoor and outdoor dining regulations? Visit the links below: